Doctor with cancer lobbies for euthanasia

A doctor who has terminal cancer is calling for the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) to accept euthanasia as ethical.

John Pollock, a former GP from Auckland's North Shore, was working as a part-time locum when he was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma last December.

He initially received chemotherapy, but had since stopped the treatment, New Zealand Doctor reported.

Dr Pollock said his recent experiences had prompted him to talk more about his concerns over the current euthanasia laws, although he had always been a strong advocate of legal euthanasia.

He resigned from the NZMA a couple of years earlier because its views conflicted with his and most other doctors he had spoken to, he said.

"The NZMA can't stand up and go against the people."

In spite of good palliative care in New Zealand, many people with cancer died cruel and unpleasant deaths, Dr Pollock said.

"I do not particularly want to risk that."

However, NZMA chairman Pete Foley said even if the law changed, euthanasia would remain unethical.

"The definition ... gives you the answer: It is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient. Doctors are in the business of the exact opposite," he said,

"We don't change the laws and we don't change ethics based on popular behaviour."




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